Do you capitalize medical specialties?

Answered by Michael Wilson

Medical specialties and subspecialties, such as neurology and interventional cardiology, should not be capitalized. Capitalization in medical writing should generally follow standard grammatical rules.

The capitalization of words in medical specialties is not considered necessary because they are not proper nouns or formal names. Instead, they are common nouns that describe specific areas of medical practice. For example, neurology refers to the branch of medicine that deals with disorders of the nervous system, while interventional cardiology focuses on diagnosing and treating heart conditions using minimally invasive techniques.

By not capitalizing medical specialties, it helps to maintain consistency in writing and follows the conventions of standard English grammar. It is important to note that while the specialties themselves are not capitalized, proper nouns within these specialties, such as specific medical procedures or tests, should still be capitalized. For instance, the “electroencephalogram” (EEG) is a specific test used in neurology, and the “angioplasty” is a procedure performed in interventional cardiology.

It’s worth mentioning that the guidelines for capitalization may vary in different style guides or specific institutions. However, in general medical writing, it is advisable to follow the standard grammatical rules of capitalization and not capitalize medical specialties.

In my personal experience as a medical writer, I have encountered various style guides and editorial policies that consistently advise against capitalizing medical specialties. This approach helps to maintain consistency and readability in medical documents, ensuring that the focus remains on the content rather than unnecessary capitalization.

To summarize, medical specialties and subspecialties should not be capitalized as they are not formal names or proper nouns. Following standard English grammar rules and maintaining consistency in writing is essential in medical communication.